Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

  • July 2017
    M T W T F S S
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23rd June to Oostvaardersplassen then 26th to Lelystad

Posted by contentedsouls on 23/07/2017

7km, then 17kms

I completed my first solo major shop on the electric bike towing the trailer, as G was glued to the Grand Prix stuff, before moving to the outskirts of Almere to the massive national park area. It was on this shopping trip to Jumbo (one of two supermarket chains we have so far discovered) that I found these wonderful items. Forget your ‘part bakes’. The in store bakery makes up batches of rolls; some they bake and sell as normal, others they sell as raw dough. Take a bag home and just pop a couple in the oven so you can have fresh bread rolls anytime you want; they keep for about 5 days or you can freeze them. I also discovered their rare, finely sliced roast beef – the two make a heavenly lunch combination with a little horseradish sauce. Note to self, horseradish sauce could be the replacement Warburton’s currency.


The park is vast; no I mean VAST. I walked Muttley for over 3 hours on Sunday and saw one couple on foot (who were lost) and one couple on a little moped (who were also lost). Both couples pounced on me for directions and I was relying on my GPS on Google Maps. The place is so isolated that there are no tracks on the maps so I had dropped a pin where the boat was moored and used the GPS to check my directions in relation to the pin – this wasn’t a lot of use to the two couples concerned, but I was alright Jack; very Handsel and Gretel/Babes in the Wood. All of this – being a polder – was once under the sea, but it didn’t make sense until we went to the museum in Lelystad. I later found out that you should never leave one of the three marked trails without a guide!

I’ve used the road map to give you an idea of the size of this Ostvaardersplassen; it’s about 25 kms long and you can see the size of the area given over to nature – pretty damn generous in my opinion when I discovered what they went through to reclaim that land for living space and agriculture


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Vast areas have boundary fences to keep deer in (or out?) and the gates in the fences were great; not so the grids- I had to carry Muttley over this or backtrack 2 miles. This was also where I found the info about the ponies that I didn’t understand.


Many will be thinking why didn’t she look it up on itranslate? If you knew how many important things had to be translated on a daily basis just to get by; not to mention no, or limited, WiFi … so perhaps one of you guys with your luxury 4g service might be good enough to give it a whirl and let me know the gist.

As you can imagine, Muttley and I could have stayed here a great deal longer but it was time to move on to Lelystad. Rather than go back out to ‘sea’ and moor in Lelystad port (for ‘port’ read rubbish for the cat and bloody expensive), we took the scenic route in to the South. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to get under the low bridge, but the mooring just before it was perfect and put us 2kms from the southern edge of the town.


Having recovered the car we, rather lazily, drove across the town over to the coast where we found all kinds of shipping including a huge Noah on his Ark!


This huge lock takes you from the Markermeer onto the even bigger Ijsselmeer both of which were once open to the ‘tempestuous’ Zuider Zee. Now this is not the place for a history lesson (there is plenty of info on the web), but we visited the museum that showed how the land was recovered to provide both accommodation and food for the overflowing populace; it was all the dream of an architect called Lely and this year is the 50th anniversary of the first people moving onto the polder in the city of Lelystad. Totally fascinating to me and it made sense of things that I hadn’t, in my ignorance, made sense of previously. The polder towns have been carefully laid out, rather like Milton Keynes, with shopping areas, cycle networks, leisure facilities and parklands; the difference being that there are a lot of towns and cities and all the land had to be reclaimed first and all the infrastructure built from scratch. Again, highly amused by some of their zany statues. I have no idea why they would want to build a ginormous statue of a man squatting down to have a poo, nor why they would stick a man’s head in a kiddies paddling pool with a tiny man stood on top.


3 Responses to “23rd June to Oostvaardersplassen then 26th to Lelystad”

  1. andywindy said

    So glad that the trailer is working out ok, I have these ideas that seem so obvious to me, but other people don’t always see the benefit of them.

    That sure is a big park, I imagine that it is probably still drying out and not stable enough to build on, or maybe it was really planned that way?

    Strange sculptures indeed, though the last one rings a distant bell something along the lines of Gulliver? Certainly a Giant that was dominated to invade an enemy country.


    • Your obvious is our genius! What would we do without you – rhetorical so no question mark x.
      The ‘park’ is not there waiting to dry out, it is there by design. After building the dykes, they pumped out the land, left it many years and then built huge rafts of reeds weighted down by stones which they dragged across onto the ex sea beds. These provided platforms on which to sow seeds and build plantations. Now, I did say I wasn’t going to give you a history lesson but you, my lovely man, would be fascinated by all this stuff and I strongly recommend you have a little Google (oo er matron)!

      You may well be right about the Gulliver thing, but they sure are a bit extreme with their statues. Deeply disappointed that neither you nor Kevin TOO can provide me with info on the ponies – sulking now


  2. vallypee said

    Another fascinating bit of polder history and experience. I remember going to Schokland (I think that’s it) not far from Emmeloord some years ago. It used to be an island in the Zuiderzee and you can still see an old lighthouse standing all by itself in the farmland. There used to be shipwrecks lying in the land but they moved them to the museum in Lelystad (which you’ve seen and I haven’t). I was amazed by the whole Idea that where I was standing used to be under the sea and that the island was just a bump in the landscape. About the statues, you’ve probably heard people say now ‘if you don’t understand why or what, it must be art’! Great blog and photos, Jill!


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